Coming off three consecutive Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) wins, you’d think football coach would at least give his team a Sunday off.
But the forward-thinking first-year head coach had something in mind last weekend that he thought would give his team an edge moving forward, and it had nothing to do with football.
Black’s coaching staff got together with some of the team parents to organize a trip to the San Francisco Food Bank, an exercise the coach figured would do good for his young men as well as a worthy organization.
“When I took over, the coaches sat down and talked about building a program,” said Black, whose team improved to 5-1 overall with last week's 13-6 win at San Marin, and heads to Justin-Siena tonight at 7 p.m. for its next test. “One thing we thought was important was giving back to the community. We feel part of building a program is getting kids contributing to a community in ways other than football.”
So about 30 members of the Red-tailed Hawks family carpooled from Mill Valley to San Francisco last Sunday for something the players, in all honesty, weren’t entirely excited about beforehand.
“We went there with a preconceived notion it was going to be boring,” junior offensive guard Kayne Nau admitted. “Wearing hair nets … it just didn’t sound like a lot of fun.”
As it turns out, it was a thoroughly enjoyable way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The Hawks not only did a wide variety of things to help prepare food for the needy, but did it in a way that captured their attention and got them working at a pace normally reserved for their football games.
“They had a competitive side to it,” Nau said of the Food Bank organizers. “It went from being tedious to fun.”
Added Black, “The way it’s structured is nice. They get the kids to work together, competing against each other. They made it a fun experience.”
And a learning experience as well.
“They formed teams and different kids had to take leadership roles. Kids who aren’t leaders on the field had to take leadership roles,” Black explained. “Everybody got to see the kids working in a different light.”
Added Nau, “They split us up. Linemen ended up with receivers … usually guys who you wouldn’t talk to on the field. It brought us closer as a team.”
Black noted part of the experience was designed to expose the teen-agers to a side of life they perhaps had never viewed first-hand. “You hope kids learn things that can help them later in life,” he explained.
Apparently the activity already has impacted the squad. One group of players has volunteered to go to the senior community across from the school to help move some boxes. Another player has helped teach football to beginners at the middle school.
Suddenly, there’s no more talk of hair nets. In fact …
“I’d love to do it again,” Nau insisted.